This is Marie, contributing an article about a recipe we got from Steve DiFillippo’s new memoir, It’s All About the Guest. Steve is the founder of Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, a restaurant chain that we really enjoy. Grant has already posted a review of the book this week at The Hipster Dad’s Bookshelf, and today we’re featuring a recipe from it. Synergy!
This is a fairly simple pasta dish, suitable for days when you don’t feel well and want to get things out of the way quickly but have just enough energy to bypass the take-out places.
The ingredients list is very simple, made up of things many people already have, with the possible exception of the fresh garlic. I have to admit I use the stuff pre-minced in olive oil, because real garlic tends to sprout in my crisper drawer.
The whole point of this recipe is to use good ingredients. It’s a comfort food type of dish, not a let’s-save-money kind of dish. There’s a difference. The quality of the ingredients is what allows the recipe to shine, or alternately lets it fall with a bland splat on your plate. Simple is not a synonym for lazy, though this is an easy recipe. Use fresh herbs, not dried ones, and make sure to check the leaves. Slice them very finely with a sharp knife. Use good-quality tomatoes (though you needn’t necessarily use the specific kind listed). Use a good brand of pasta, not the cheapest thing on the shelf. That’s how simple things go well. Pasta with tomatoes, olive oil and fresh herbs is about as simple as it gets, and care for how you get the ingredients is more important than how well you throw them together afterward.
This is a keeper, and, according to Steve, a great favorite of his friend and mentor Julia Child, who fell asleep with him a couple of times in the back of a limousine. Check out the book for the whole story!
“This dish is simple and so good. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil (Monini preferred) over medium high heat. Take 1 large garlic clove, slice it paper thin, add it to the oil, and cook for about 1 minute or until the garlic is golden brown. Now add 16 ounces San Marzano tomatoes to the garlic and cook them for 5 to 6 minutes. You want to simmer the sauce briskly until it thickens. Take 6 basil leaves, roll them up lengthwise, and cut across the roll, slicing them very thinly. (You get the idea? This recipe, from the angel hair on up, is about skinny stuff.) Stir the basil into the sauce and add 1 sprig of fresh oregano. Whisk in 1 ounce unsalted butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
“Now on to the pasta. Keeping the sauce warm, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1/2 pound dried angel hair pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package, or until al dente. When the pasta is about finished, bring the sauce up to almost a boil. Drain the pasta and transfer immediately to the sauce, stirring the two together. Cook the sauce and pasta together for 1 minute, adding 2 ounces of reserved pasta water. Divide the pasta into two equal portions, and then spoon the remaining sauce from the pan over the pasta and garnish with Parmigiano cheese. Bon appétit!”
Recipe courtesy of Steve DiFillippo from It’s All About the Guest (Lyons, 2013) and reprinted here with his permission.
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